The Aim of this devotional study is to learn about Jesus’ identity from a confession of Jesus.
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)
25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Note: Every single story recorded in John’s gospel is written to give a revelation of who Jesus is, so that the reader may have faith in Jesus – refer to John 20:30-31 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
- What was the ministry of John the Baptist? And what was the purpose of his ministry? (see verse 31).
- Looking at these verses, what can you learn about the identity and ministry of Jesus from John the Baptist’s sayings? (Take special notice of the names and titles attributed to Jesus.)
- This event occurred the week before Passover feast, and every Jewish family was looking for a lamb to be slaughtered to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt; what did it mean when John called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”? (verse 29)
- What did John mean when he said about Jesus “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’” (verse 30) Why did he need to say that to the crowd gathering around him?
Application and prayer
- John’s hearers were Jews who believed and God and came to be baptized with water as a sign of repentance, to make God number one in their lives (refer to Acts 19:1-7). However, John pointed them towards Jesus, saying he alone could take away their sins. Think back on your life – was there ever a moment when you, seeking God, received revelation that Jesus is the only he who could take away your sins? Relive that moment, and thank God for it. Are you still living with the reality that Jesus only can make you clean before God? Commit to that!
- John said that Jesus was more important (in ministry and person) to himself. Take some time and think how your life reflects – or does not reflect – that truth. In which ways can you show today (and this week) that Jesus is superior to you?
- Spend some time and worship Jesus as The Lamb of God that took your sins away, the Christ who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (read “makes us children of God”), the Superior One, and the Son of God.